June 23, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Enhances Learning and Community Impact With Civic Spirit

Working with others to find solutions despite different opinions is the best of politics and civil discourse, and Ma’ayanot offers its students that opportunity both in and out of the classroom through its partnership with Civic Spirit. Civic Spirit is an educational organization that works with faith-based schools to enhance civic engagement and responsibility. Partnering with Civic Spirit offers Ma’ayanot juniors and seniors the unique opportunity to participate in relationship-building and constructive dialogue across diverse schools, and to be knowledgeable, ethical and active participants in the community’s civic life.

The 11th and 12th grade participants in the Civic Spirit initiative, along with their faculty mentors, History Department Chair Chani Rotenberg and English Department Chair Samantha Kur, are partnering with students and teachers from St. Jean Baptiste, an all-girls school in New York City. The students will choose a civic issue of mutual interest, and engage in dialogue with the goal of identifying where they agree, where they disagree and why, and write a position paper. As participant Noa Rubinstein said, “Civic Spirit is a great opportunity to connect with people with different backgrounds from me to address issues that I may not have thought about without this exposure.”

Civic Spirit’s principles also enhance learning within Ma’ayanot’s classrooms. Skills at guiding dialogue, which Kur and Rotenberg refined at Civic Spirit’s training, apply across disciplines, including literature, history and politics, an area where student passions run high. As Rotenberg put it, “Instead of an attempt to convince, dialogue becomes about respecting and wanting to learn about others’ views as a way to enrich one’s own learning.” By working with students from a variety of backgrounds and opinions, Ma’ayanot students will develop life-long skills that will stay with them in high school, college and future leadership positions.

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